June 14, 2019

Today you should read: Daniel 4

Our lives are for God’s glory – plain and simple – but we’ve bought the lie.  The lie that it is all about us – that we pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps – that life is what I make it.  It simply isn’t true.  This is especially hard when we experience fame or success – as in our story today.  

King Nebuchadnezzar had it all.  Everyone bowed down to him – he had the choicest of accommodations, food, and women.  He had everything anyone could ever want… but he forgot where it came from. He began to think it was because of him – his wisdom – his ability – his leadership.

God gave him a dream.  God often spoke through dreams and the king knew it.  The dream bothered him – what could it mean? He asked all his magicians, enchanters, astrologers and fortune-tellers – no one knew.  Then someone thought of Daniel – God lived in him and would enable him to understand the dream. Daniel explained that the kingdom was soon to be taken from Nebuchadnezzar if he didn’t repent and do what’s right (v.27).  He simply refused – he had a hard heart.

So… God let him live like a crazy man – like a wild animal.  He ate grass like a cow, he lived outdoors, his hair was as long as eagles’ feathers and his nails were like bird claws.  This would continue until he learned “that the Most High rules over the kingdoms of the world and gives them to anyone He chooses”.

This is true today too.  God still rules in the same way.  He’s the one that allows us to prosper and suffer – he lets you flourish in business – find the right guy – build a successful church.  He is the one that rules and gives success and prosperity to who HE chooses.

If you are living a life of prosperity – it’s because God allowed it and He wants you to use it for His glory.  If you don’t – He might take it away. If you’re struggling – it’s because God wants to get your attention and turn your focus to Him.

Never forget the words God spoke to king Nebuchadnezzar, “the Most High rules over the kingdoms of the world and gives them to anyone He chooses.”

By: Tim Parsons — Lead Pastor

June 13, 2019

Today you should read: Daniel 3

When you think of the most well known stories from the book of Daniel, our passage today is one of them. King Nebuchadnezzar had created this massive idol of gold for the people to worship. Not only did he create it, he mandated that everyone in the land would bow down in worship to it, with the punishment of disobedience being incinerated in a furnace.

This clearly proposed a problem for our Jewish friends in the book of Daniel. There’s no doubt that the first commandment came to mind when hearing this news:

“You shall have no other gods before me.

“You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments. Exodus 20:3-6 (ESV)

God is very clear in regards to our worship: we are to worship Him and Him alone.

So our trio has a decision to make: to strongly stand by their worship of the one true God, or to worship the god of Nebuchadnezzar and avoid a fiery outcome. What do they decide? There was not a second of hesitation:

16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 17 If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. 18 But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” Daniel 3:16-18 (ESV)

Their response is bold. They have confidence that God will save them from the fire, but they are resolved that even if he does not, they would rather die than submit themselves to worship of other gods. Oh, that we would have this same confidence and resolve! Nothing could stop them from worshipping the one true God.

The three young men were resolved to remain faithful to God no matter what God did, but God in his grace saved them from the fire. The king made the fire 7 times hotter than normal, so hot that it killed some of the servants tending to it! The people watching saw something amazing in the fire: although they had only put the three young men in the fire, they saw a fourth in there with them! Who was the fourth person? Some say it is Jesus, others that it was an angel. No matter what, it was proof that God was present with them in the fire, watching over them and protecting them.

God showed his kindness to them in the fire so that His name would be glorified in the land. In fact, Nebuchadnezzar saying that if anyone said anything negative about the god of Israel, they would be torn limb from limb.

The point of all of this is for us to see that God is worthy of true worship, no matter the outcome. The example of the three young men is a great example to us: a true and pure worship of God that is not based on receiving anything, but is based in a true understanding of who God is.

I wanted to close by having you listen to this song that is based on our passage from today. Allow it to encourage you and remind you of the truth of God’s Word throughout the day!

By: Graham Withers — Pastoral Ministry Associate

June 12, 2019

Today you should read: Daniel 2:19-49

In our passage today, God reveals Nebuchadnezzar’s dream to Daniel and Daniel then interprets the dream for the King. There are a couple of things I want to discuss.

First, Daniel is still a young man at this point in his life, and he goes to the most powerful man in the world and tells him that his kingdom is going to fall one day. Can you imagine how scared Daniel must have been? But Daniel was being faithful to God by saying exactly what God revealed to him. What would our lives look like if we had faith like Daniel? What holds us back from speaking the truth of the Gospel to our friends and families? We should not be afraid to share truth just because it might make relationships uncomfortable. If we want to be faithful to God then we must carry out His commands as Daniel had.

Secondly, notice that Nebuchadnezzar ultimately worships God (v. 46-49). He just found out that his kingdom was going to be destroyed one day. That had to be the worst news he had ever heard, but God showed himself to Nebuchadnezzar at that time. It is amazing to see God work on Nebuchadnezzar’s heart.

It is amazing to see how God works in this passage. He revealed the dream to Daniel. He softened Nebuchadnezzar’s heart. He saved the lives of all the magicians and enchanters by revealing the dream to Daniel. God orchestrated all the events that took place in the story. God deserves all the glory.

How is God working in your life? Have you praised Him lately for all the blessings in your life?

By: Brice Stockton — Student Ministry Apprentice

June 11, 2019

Today you should read: Daniel 2:1-18

Nebuchadnezzar was a powerful, mighty king, and whatever he dreamed of shook him to the core. We’ll hear specifics of the dream in tomorrow’s reading, but today we see the actions of a man driven by pride and fear. The king knew that his dream did not seem good for his future if it was a prophecy of what was to come, and he was determined to find out the interpretation of the imagery in his dream where he made murderous threats toward those who couldn’t or wouldn’t interpret it correctly for him. Imagine being put in such a situation, trying to meet such demands that are out of your control. But it wasn’t outside of God’s control. Although the Chaldeans believed and answered, “There is not a man on earth who can meet the king’s demand,” which is partly right without a sovereign, miracle working, prophetic God who provided such a person in Daniel.

One important application out of this passage is recognizing what God can do that man cannot. There may be impossible things on this earth, along with impossible requests that we can’t do within our own human power, but God can do or reveal within His. Nebuchadnezzar is not going to like what he is going to hear tomorrow but it doesn’t hold us back from speaking the truth God reveals, and it’s amazing how God uses such truth as well.

By: Erik Koliser — West Campus Pastor